PhD Thesis:  What does it mean to be a queer refugee woman? Collective self-discovery of lived experiences through trauma and agency.

Australian National University

Queer refugees occupy a marginal space within refugee narratives. They appear to be more tolerable for the hosting country as their queerness signifies modernity, yet they are excluded from the refugee community itself symbolising the clash of cultures. There is no space of belonging in the queer community either, that may often be racist and not receptive to the specific needs of queer refugees.

In the Australian context, queer refugees are often associated with gay men being incarcerated in the offshore detention. Rarely, do we hear about queer refugee women.

My research is focused on the lived experiences of queer refugee women. Taking the point of departure in my personal story and moving to stories of other women, I view them through the lens of trauma theory and concepts of empowerment.

I look into the questions of identity, belonging, community and the ways women can live the life to the full potential considering the traumatic past on one hand, and highly politicised refugee narratives in Australia on the other. Under refugee narratives I mean the imposition of the refugee label that erased other identities as well as the need for a refugee to be ever-grateful to the country for the afforded protection.

I view lived experiences in the multiplicity from pre-departure to life while or after obtaining a refugee status. Placing particular focus on the life after, I question whether the discovery and embrace of the multiplicity of new refugee identity still remains ongoing and whether in a new safe home, queer refugee women may be still coming to terms with oppression, discrimination or violence.

I do this work using autoethnography and narrative inquiry as my methodology.